Meet the Team
Meet the Team
BRAD GERSTMAN, ESQ. | Managing Partner
Brad Gerstman is a leading attorney, lobbyist, and government relations specialist with a diverse background in business, tech, energy, education, and media. As both a personal donor and successful fundraiser, Brad has built a political career that spans all levels of government and encompasses pertinent figures from both sides of the political aisle.
With years of professional experience, Brad expertly steers clients through complex legislative, political, and bureaucratic processes. Utilizing individualized strategies, he taps into political trends and fashions them to the advantage of his clients. This has proven especially important for those introducing disruptive technologies or operating within heavily regulated markets.
Brad’s exceptional reputation for building both relationships and coalitions has earned him the respect and support of policy makers. As a result, he has helped to push forward essential legislation for New Yorkers as it pertains to business, advocacy, land use, municipal matters, and education. In addition to serving on several finance committees, he has also been personally selected by prominent members of government to provide campaign guidance and fundraising aid. Most recently, Brad has joined the political action committee Striving For A Better New York, which is supported by NYC Mayor Eric Adams, as an Advisory Board Member.
Recognized throughout New York, Brad has received several awards and accolades including being named to the “2022 Political PR Power 50” list by City and State. He was also a 2020 Honoree of “The Kings of New York Award,” as well as the winner of the “Leadership in Law award” by Long Island Business News in the partners category. His guest articles have been featured in publications including Crain’s New York Business, Long Island Business News, Newsday, and Venture Beat.
Previously, Brad was appointed by the Nassau County Legislature to act as a member of the Board of Directors for the Nassau Health Care Corporation. As Chairman of the Facility Committee, Brad spearheaded a 750-million-dollar makeover of the hospital, clinics, and senior living facility. He was also a member of other committees including Disciplinary Hearing, Governance, Legal & Audit, and Finance. In addition, he served on the Executive Committee for the hospital, and acted as Vice Chair and Board Member of the Long Island Medical Foundation. Upon joining the Executive Board, he became chair of the Redevelopment Committee. In this role he was responsible for overseeing a $100 million makeover of the hospital’s emergency department. Finally, Brad was a Board Member of the Holocaust and Tolerance Center of Nassau County and the Adelphi President’s Council.
Throughout his career Brad has served the special needs community in a variety of roles including Long Island Advocacy Chair for Autism Speaks, one of the nation’s largest autism advocacy organizations, Executive Committee Member and Advocacy Chair on the 2007 Long Island Walk Now for Autism Planning Committee, Chair of the Nassau County Autism Coalition, Counsel for the Long Island Autism Coalition Board, and Member of the Nassau/Suffolk Autism Society of America. He was also appointed by Governor Paterson through the nomination of Senate majority leader Dean Skelos to the Governor’s Council on Interactive Media and Child Violence and named an honoree at the Child Abuse Prevention Services yearly gala for his work in protecting children. Brad currently acts as Co-founder and Board Member of the Lisa Beth Gerstman Foundation, a family organization that provides summer camp experiences to children with physical and developmental disabilities.
Beyond his work as a lawyer and lobbyist, Brad is proud to also call himself a national best selling author. His first book, What Men Want, was written in conjunction with two of his closest friends, and subsequently published by HarperCollins. At his alma mater Hofstra University, Brad played 4 years of varsity football. In his spare time, Brad enjoys fashion, competitive boxing, and supporting all professional New York sports teams, except for the Jets.
- Crain’s New York Business
- “What Killed a Popular Construction Incentive? Old Fashioned Protectionism”
- “The Danger of Criminalizing Construction Accidents”
- Long Island Business News
- “More CNG Fueling Stations Needed”
- “School Choice: Let’s Start with Brentwood”
- “NY Legislatures Deserve a Pay Raise”
- “A United Voting Bloc”
- “Budget Cuts Will Harm Autistic Kids”
- Venture Beat
- “The Dangers of Being a Disrupter”
Meet the Team
NICOLE EPSTEIN, ESQ. | Partner & Vice President of Government Relations
Utilizing the related worlds of law, government, business, and media, Nicole Epstein Schwartz is committed to fighting for our clients at every level. Specializing in a variety of areas including land use, zoning, construction, department of building matters, education, transportation, health care, and agency law, Nicole is responsible for spearheading advocacy initiatives of all sizes. In doing so she not only publicizes our clients concerns, but also fights to hold necessary actors, be it government or otherwise, accountable for their actions- and her success has proven unparalleled.
Prior to beginning her professional career, Nicole graduated from Stony Brook University magna cum laude with a B.A. in Psychology and was inducted as a lifetime member to Psi Chi, the National Honor Society for Psychology. After graduating from Stony Brook, Nicole received her J.D. from the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University in 2015. During law school, Nicole worked for Luxottica Group’s IP department, a multinational company, where she negotiated and drafted multi-million-dollar contracts for high-profile public figures.
Most recently, Nicole has been named as one of the most powerful people in Public Relations in City & State’s Political PR Power list (2020-2022) and recognized by the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University as an ‘Outstanding Woman in Law’ (2021). Nicole is also the Chairwoman of the Government Relations Committee for the Nassau County Bar Association.
Meet the Team
BIANCA A. VITALE, ESQ. | Director of Government Relations
Bianca A. Vitale is a licensed attorney in New York and New Jersey with a distinguished background in city, state, and federal legislative affairs. As a proud Brooklynite with over a decade of experience in public service, Bianca advocates for policies and programs that protect and improve the lives of everyday New Yorkers.
After obtaining her Juris Doctorate from the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University in 2015, Bianca began her legal career as an Associate Attorney practicing insurance defense at the boutique law firm of White, Quinlan & Staley in Garden City, New York. In 2017, she joined the Office of the Deputy Commissioner of Trials for the New York City Police Department as an Agency Attorney. In both roles, Bianca worked on a wide range of administrative and judicial proceedings and developed her sound litigation and advocacy skills.
Bianca went on to serve as Legislative Counsel for the 2019 New York City Charter Revision Commission, where she continued to build her passion for legislative reform and public advocacy. In this role, she worked on various phases of the city legislative process, including research, expert consultation, and public engagement. She also helped to develop and draft various types of local legislation, including a bill to establish ranked choice voting in city-wide elections, as well as legislation to strengthen police accountability and transparency in disciplinary outcomes, both of which were voted on by New Yorkers and eventually passed into law.
Bianca later joined the Bill Drafting Division of the New York City Council as a Legislative Attorney in 2020, where she worked directly with City Council Members to draft a wide array of bills, including legislation to address local business concerns and public safety issues caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic. Bianca also served as Legislative Counsel for the New York City Council’s Committee on Veterans and the Committee on Civil Service and Labor.
Prior to joining Gerstman PLLC, Bianca worked as an Agency Attorney for the New York City Department of Veterans’ Services, where she served as the agency’s principal liaison to the Mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and the New York City Council. In this role, Bianca advised the agency’s leadership on managing interagency and external partnerships, preparing for oversight hearings, and accomplishing legislative priorities.
Today, Bianca is utilizing her unique mix of experience and passion to advocate for Gerstman PLLC’s clients in a range of industries here in New York City. Her distinct understanding of both public policy and local government ensures the success of those she fights for.
Meet the Team
NINA MARINARO, ESQ. | Senior Policy Analyst
Nina Marinaro is a licensed attorney with over a decade of professional experience working in the State of New York.
Ms. Marinaro began her legal career focusing on environmental law. Interning at both the US EPA & NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation throughout law school, she worked on projects concerning both environmental policy & cannabis law.
Eventually, Nina shifted her focus to real estate law and development. During that time, she was responsible for drafting legislation that has since been codified into NYS law. In addition, she is also proud to have drafted a winning complaint against the NYC Dept. of Buildings in a long-shot Article 78 proceeding for a prominent client.
Today, Nina is committed to supporting our clients here at Gerstman PLLC.
Meet the Team
NICOLE “Nikki” FORTNER | Senior Government Relations Associate
With over a decade of experience implementing government-funded healthcare and workforce development programs throughout New York City, Nicole offers clients a diverse understanding of both the government and private sectors. Her successful track record is especially meaningful as it relates to the lifecycle of government funding.
Prior to joining Gerstman PLLC, Nicole was appointed to serve as Senior Practice Engagement Manager by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration at the New York City Mental Health Service Corps (MHSC), a workforce development program launched as part of the city’s public health initiative. Throughout her tenure there, she implemented and improved workflows to ensure patient access to mental health services.
Passionate about giving back to underserved communities, Nicole has worked as an advocate between government departments including the NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA), Department of Homeless Services (DHS), and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH), service providers, and state programs to make housing, mental health services, and employment accessible. Additionally, she worked cross-functionally between the DOHMH and other city agencies to effectively resolve service barriers for thousands of New Yorkers. Nicole’s commitment to serving her community through government-funded, non-profit work emphasizing workforce programs and affordable housing has helped her to establish strong ties and relationships across local government and community sectors.
Nicole graduated from the University of Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. In 2021, she was appointed to the University of Iowa Political Science Advisory Board. She currently resides in Manhattan with her partner, Jonathan, and their young son.
Meet the Team
AMBASSADOR ADRIAN NERITANI | Senior Advisor
Amb. Neritani served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Albania to the United Nations in New York (concurrently serving as non-resident Ambassador to Cuba). After completing his term as Ambassador to the UN, he joined the President of the UN General Assembly as his Legal Counsel. Later on, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed Amb. Neritani to serve as Political Director of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), a UN Security Council mandated body to identify perpetrators responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Amb. Neritani began his diplomatic career in 1991, when he was chosen to lead the United States affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Albania. He remained with the Foreign Service until 1999, serving as Regional Officer in charge of China and the Far East, and later, as First Secretary/DCM and Charge d’Affaires a.i. at the Albanian Embassy in Beijing, China. At the beginning of his career Adrian was a Lecturer at the University of Shkodra, Albania, and most recently, an Adjunct Professor of Law at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago.
Currently, Amb. Neritani is an Attorney and Counselor at Law in New York City, focusing in areas of international law and business transactions. Adrian serves as a pro bono legal adviser of the UN Women for Peace Association, a New York based not for profit organization committed to ending violence against women and girls around the world. He is also a board member of the International Association of Permanent Representatives to the United Nations in New York. Prior to relocating to New York, he operated a private practice in Chicago.
Amb. Neritani holds Bachelor Degrees in Political Science and Law from the University of Tirana, a Master’s Degree in Diplomacy from the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies in Malta, and a Master of Laws (LLM) in International Business and Trade Law from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, USA. He is a member of the New York Bar.
Meet the Team
JOSEPH FARBER, ESQ. | Counsel
As a gifted attorney with decades of success, Mr. Farber is recognized throughout New York as a true force within a variety of legal and civic organizations.
He brings with him extensive experience in general litigation, as well as both family and banking law. However, most recently, his time has been dedicated to real estate and commercial mortgage transactions. Today, Mr. Farber enjoys a rating of AV Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell.
Throughout his career, Mr. Farber has functioned as Managing Attorney for Queens Legal Services Corporation and has been a Trustee of the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of New York. In addition, he has also served in a variety of other roles including:
- Former Member, Board of Trustees, Cross County Federal Savings Bank
- Member, Board of Directors, The Tiegerman School
- Past Chairman of the Board, Flushing, Willets Point, Corona, LDC
- Past President, Queens Chamber of Commerce
- Past District Governor, Lions Club International
- Former Member of the Board of Trustees Red Cross of Greater New York
- Past Chairman of the Board, Lions Eye Bank at North Shore University Hospital
As one of the original founders of his previous firm, Mr. Farber served as lead counsel for NYCB, closing over one billion dollars in loans each year. In addition, he served as General Counsel to Cross County Bank and Tiegerman Schools in Long Island and New York City.
Mr. Farber received his Bachelor of Science degree from Long Island University, before continuing on to obtain a Juris Doctor from Brooklyn Law School in 1968.
He is admitted and appears in U.S. District Court, Southern and Eastern District of New York, U. S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, New York State Supreme Court, United States Supreme Court, and U.S. Tax Court.
Meet the Team
MATTHEW BERNSTEIN | Government Relations Associate
Prior to joining the team he worked as a Government Communications Intern for Grant Leading Technology, an SBA 8(a) certified US government contractor with Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) status.
Matthew is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Telecommunications and Political Science.
Meet the Team
OLIVER ZHEN GRAF | Government Relations Associate
Oliver Zhen Graf is a Government Relations Associate at Gerstman PLLC.
Prior to joining the team Oliver worked as a paralegal for a large firm in Manhattan. In this role he supported attorneys in international intellectual property litigation and prosecution by helping to prepare and execute legal documents.
In addition, he also interned in a variety of politically focused roles. This experience includes working for Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, conducting research at a political risk and public affairs consultancy group, assisting in event management at The McCain Institute in Washington D.C., and interning with a Malaysian NGO created to provide shelter, education, and protection for impoverished and at-risk Malaysian children.
Oliver is a graduate of New York University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He is conversationally proficient in Mandarin, Malay, and Indonesian, as well as familiar with both Arabic and Spanish.
Meet the Team
CATHERINNE ANGEL | Client Operations
Catherinne Angel is a paralegal with years of experience working in a variety of environments.
In addition to drafting and filing all necessary documentation for the firm, Catherinne is also responsible for managing the day to day operations of the office. As Office Manager, she is an essential advocate for our clients and regularly keeps each apprised of updates regarding their case or organization.
Catherinne is a graduate of St. John’s University. She is fluent in Spanish and conversational Portuguese.
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